Mikael Aktor aktor at COCO.IHI.KU.DK
Fri Dec 12 23:31:02 UTC 1997

I wrote:

>> In the delocutives that have been mentioned
>> so far (I may have missed some of the mails)
>> there is no real shift from locution to
>> delocution, for instance from "to say 'honey'"
>> to "to honey" or from "dire 'tu'" to "tutoyer".

To this Jacob Baltuch remarked:

> I don't think so. "To honey" is not "to utter honey
> but "to call somebody hoeny". It is transitive and
> therefore can't possibly stand for "to utter honey"
> which is an inherently intransitive expression.

You're of course right that in this context "to say honey" in not just to
utter the word "honey" but to say "honey" _to someone_ (whether out of
affection or playing on this content of the expression). My point,
however, is that there is no functional difference between "to call
someone 'honey'" and "to honey someone". There may be good reasons to
have a linguistic technical term such as "delocutive" for the latter kind
of verb, but this does not make it a speech act of its own.

I also wrote:

>> The delocutive expression merely refers to the
>> locution (as also Dominik Wujastyk's example of an
>> infinite recursion indicates). And in this sense
>> the delocutives do not form a delimited speech act
>> of its own.

And Jacob Baltuch:

> I'm not sure Dominik's point is correct. (Incidentally
> I thought it was just a humorous aside) There's is
> no infinite recursion in this particular case because
> in the "don't X me" construction X has to be a term of
> address (considered offensive, belittling, etc.) X does
> not stand for to utter X (which would be intransitive)

Whether a joke or not, the example illustrates that in principle one can
go on forming delocutives at higher and higher meta levels which do not
really alter the speech-act-character of the expressions that are so
"delocutived" (to stay in style).


Mikael Aktor,
Dept of the Study of Religions, University of Aarhus, Denmark.

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